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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interesting… interesting… two birds, one stone!

I love Pirkei Avos.  And I am fascinated by Charlotte Mason home education at the moment.

A couple of the more “olde-fashioned” aspects of the Charlotte Mason approach focus on memorization and copywork – improving handwriting and training the mind through rewriting verses.  For Christian homeschoolers, this usually involves Bible verses or classical poetry, and I have been wondering what to substitute in order to take a more Jewish approach.

Okay, I know most of the Christian Bible is Jewish … we introduced it to the world, and all that.  But for some reason, it’s just not a Jewish thing, sitting and memorizing individual verses the way Christians often do in their kids’ Bible studies. 

I think it’s because we are big into context… we’d rather our kids understand the story, learn what major commentators have to say, what it means for us today, etc., instead of just memorizing the words themselves.  Although, of course, most decent Torah study does involve memorization at some point.

Anyway, I was thinking about what I could substitute to find single verses that were not straight out of the Torah, both for memorization and copywork.  Verses that were meaningful when taken both in and out of context.  I was considering Mishlei (proverbs), but that’s a little over my head, not to mention a 5-year-old’s. 

And then I found this booklet of Pirkei Avos worksheets on chinuch.org, and while not entirely perfect, it has inspired me.  Of course!  Although Pirkei Avos is very deep and can be learned on many levels, the simple understandings are very helpful in everday life and they are often things kids can relate to.

I am still searching for a Hebrew “print”  handwriting font that I can use to create more useful copywork sheets.  It’s one thing to see the text in preprinted form, but I really want them to provide examples of actual handwriting.  If my own handwriting was better, I would maybe scan that and even turn it into a font… hmm… anyone reading this have wonderful Hebrew handwriting???

2 comments:

Miriam said...

I just stumbled upon your blog when searching for a food processor recipe for challah. I love it! My son is only fifteen months old, but my dh and I have been talking about homeschooling. I like Pirkei Avos too and remember memorizing it in camp. I think it's a great idea for kids. I look forward to reading more.

alpidarkomama said...

I love a lot of the CM ideas too. We definitely keep our lessons short (15-20 minutes), do lots of poetry memorization and lots of copywork (usually from whatever readaloud book we're doing at the moment).

For Hebrew copywork, we just finished a project of reading through the first perek + a little more of bereishis (all the 7 days of creation). She picked out any word she wanted to from the pasuk and copied it and did a miniature illustration. We'll go through it again, picking out key phrases this time and adding that to a more detailed illustration of each of the days. This is all with the goal of reading that whole section in ivrit, hopefully by May or so be'h.

Pirkei Avos is a wonderful idea! I was planning to do a whole series of lessons on that this spring, but maybe we'll start sooner! Those would be perfect for memorization. Very pithy. :)

A chabad website has the 12 pesukim that the Chabad rebbe said every child should learn:

http://www.torahtots.com/12pesukim/12pesukim.htm

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